Jason Chamberlain is a musician, recording engineer, and artist who has resided in Kenmore for over three decades. Over the years, you may have seen him on stage with a guitar, behind the counter at The Guitar Department and Musician’s Bargain Basement, behind the mixing board at Studio 1008, or behind the lens of his camera during events or out on walk. Jason currently serves as the official house photographer at The Rialto Theatre.
1.) How long have you lived in Kenmore and what brought you here?
I have been here for thirty three years – it has been the most stable thing in my life. I have worked at several locations on the Blvd including the Dairy Queen when I was a teen, The Musician’s Bargain Basement, The Guitar Department, and Studio 1008. I also have family roots in this town as my father and his five sisters grew up here as well.
2.) You’ve been a musician most of your life, what inspired you to pick up the guitar?
I saw Kiss in 1979 when I was six years old. I looked up at that stage and saw the lead guitar player and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life and I have on a smaller scale. I have been on two different independent record labels and have toured all over the country.
3.) You’re currently working on an album of new music, tell us about that – and do you think Kenmore has any influence on the music you make?
I have begun a recording-only project that I'm doing from home where I – for the first time – have decided to do everything myself. In the past, I have always written with a band where others have contributed.
And yes Kenmore has a huge influence on my musical style. I moved here when I was fifteen and made friends with other guitar players who introduced me to underground metal. I was very impressed by this, seeing these guys in this small town who had their hands on the pulse of underground music.
4.) You’ve also engineered/produced recordings for other musicians – how did you get into that and who are some of the artists you’ve worked with?
It started with me being in a band with two other Kenmore residents (we were in our mid-twenties) and went to studio in Deerfield where I was very intrigued by the whole process and after that I started my own home studio. I have had the pleasure of recording some of Akron's finest talents such as Angie Haze, Zach, Run Thomas Run, and The Living Deads among others.
5.) You can often be seen around the community with a camera in your hand at The Rialto, during Kenmore First Fridays, or just when you’re out on a walk – when did you begin taking photos and what drew you to photography?
It began when I was in the recording studio (Studio 1008 on Kenmore Blvd.) and the band I was working with asked if I knew of any local photographers. I told them I didn’t, but that my mother had a really nice expensive camera I could borrow. I took a few days to learn the mechanics and we came up with a concept and I took the photos for their album cover and the inner sleeve photos. I was surprised by the results, so I bought my own camera and the rest is history. This was also around the time I got into graphic design and digital art and designed the BLVD logo on the banners that hang from the light poles on the Blvd.
6.) What is your favorite Kenmore memory or story to share with people?
Some of my favorite memories are from high school when I’d spend weekends with my guitar player friends. We would jam, teach each other songs we had learned, and help each other develop. It was pure and wholesome fun and kept us busy and out of trouble. 😂
7.) Favorite Kenmore restaurant and why?
That is easy, it's Regina's. Amazing cheesesteak sub.
8.) What concert or event would you love to see at The Rialto Theatre?
I know it’s known for its quality concerts but I would like to see standup comedy. Maybe now with the Living Room at the front of the venue it can be something that would thrive there. We all need a laugh these days.
9.) As a resident, where do you see Kenmore in ten years?
In the past few years I have seen more progress than any point of my thirty three years here. I can only see progress continuing with the right people in place.
10.) What do you want the world to know about Kenmore?
There are good people here, people who are making a difference. They are making the change we want to see for the betterment of our community.
*All photos were taken by Jason Chamberlain in Kenmore.